Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 93–112 | Cite as

Prospective Educational Applications of Mental Simulation: A Meta-review

  • Josephine P. van MeerEmail author
  • Nicolet C. M. Theunissen
Review Article


This paper focuses on the potential of mental simulation (mentally rehearsing an action to enhance performance) as a useful contemporary educational method. By means of a meta-review, it is examined which conditions impede or facilitate the effectiveness of mental simulation (MS). A computer search was conducted using Ovid PsycINFO. Reviews, meta-reviews, or meta-analyses published between 1806 and 2006 were included. The current paper presents the results of ten publications in which about 630 studies on mental simulation or mental practice are reviewed. According to the analyses, conditions that influence the effect of MS are the type of skill practiced, personal factors, time per trial, amount of trials, and instructional procedures. Based on these insights, it is reflected upon in which areas MS would be functional with regard to contemporary educational demands, such as for emotional, behavioral, and (other) complex cognitive tasks.


Educational method Mental simulation Mental practice Visualization Imagery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josephine P. van Meer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicolet C. M. Theunissen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Training and InstructionTNO Human FactorsSoesterbergThe Netherlands

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